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  • 16 Aug
    导出博客文章ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The text came from the back of the bus. The Sky had lost two
    straight games in the WNBA semifinals and were on the ride from OHare to
    practice Monday after a four-hour red-eye flight from Los Angeles.Can we talk?
    Sky rookie Imani Boyette texted coach Pokey Chatman. I promise, I dont want to
    suck this bad.The sixth-year Sky coach smiled as she relayed the story Sunday
    night, minutes after her teams 70-66 Game 3 victory over the Sparks at Allstate
    Arena.Thats difficult for anyone to do, to admit when theyre not up to the level
    they expect for themselves, Chatman said. But for a rookie in crunch time, that
    was the first thing on her mind. We only talked for three or four minutes, and
    it wasnt about the message I gave her because it didnt change.It was just about
    that moment for her, and I just reminded her, Listen, we trust. We believe.
    Relax. Dont overthink it. Be instinctive. And do what youre capable of
    doing.Boyette did exactly that by tallying 13 points and 11 rebounds to force
    Game 4 (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET Tuesday) in the best-of-five series. She had six points
    and five rebounds in the fourth quarter and six points, three rebounds and a
    block in the final 2:18 of regulation.I just felt I hadnt shown up in this
    series yet. The lights have been kind of bright, said the 6-foot-7 center, who
    was named to the WNBAs all-rookie team last week. Ive been guarding two of the
    best players, so yeah, I was very much a rookie this series.Those two players --
    Nneka Ogwumike, the leagues MVP, and Candace Parker, a two-time MVP playing
    minutes from where she grew up -- had been a force this series. On Sunday,
    Ogwumike scored 14 of her 22 points in the first quarter as the Sparks charged
    to a 13-point lead five minutes into the game.Thats when the Skys zone defense
    kicked in and shaved the deficit to nine points at the half. Chicago took its
    first lead since 2-0 on a driving layup by Courtney Vandersloot with 2:11 left
    in the period and held Los Angeles to just eight points in the third
    quarter.That is just unheard of for a team that skilled and with that many
    offensive threats, said Vandersloot, who led the Sky in scoring with 17 points
    on 6-of-13 shooting and five assists. Thats going to be the key. Offense has
    kind of been our thing all season, and this game was low-scoring for us, but we
    got it done on the defensive end.For the second consecutive season, Chicago led
    the WNBA in scoring. But playing without Elena Delle Donne the last five games
    of the regular season and all of the playoffs, after she suffered a thumb injury
    that required surgery Sept. 13, the Sky had to look for various sources to
    extend their season.Boyette was the difference-maker on Sunday.Chatman praised
    Boyettes aggressiveness in the paint. After picking up her fifth foul while
    trying to block a shot from Ogwumike with 4:46 remaining, Boyette blocked
    Parkers layup a little more than 2 minutes later with the Sky up 60-59. Five
    points from Kristi Toliver helped stretch the Sparks lead to 64-62 with 1:30
    left in regulation. Then back-to-back putbacks by Boyette gave the Sky a lead
    they would not relinquish.Shes a body down there, and she cant go ignored. And I
    think that we werent prepared for that, Ogwumike said. I think this is the first
    time were really seeing her in the series, and someone has to be on her at all
    times, especially when the shot goes up. Thats a huge adjustment were going to
    have to make.For Boyette, pep talks by teammates and coaches were
    instrumental.My coaches were just kind of like, Dont worry about it. Youre
    playing timid because youre scared of foul trouble. Weve got somebody to replace
    you. Just go out there, be aggressive and play your game. If you foul out, you
    foul out, she said. Its a lot easier to play that way.The Sparks, who lost for
    the first time in six games against the Sky this season, had to endure hearing
    their coach praise Chicago for its spirited play.Not that I like to be on the
    other side of it, Sparks coach Brian Agler said, but its good to see a team
    compete like that.The Sparks said they will be ready for Game 4 on Tuesday in
    Chicago, especially after a motivating speech from Toliver in the locker
    room.This is what champions strive for. Youre not going to sweep everybody. This
    is the semifinals, Ogwumike said in echoing Tolivers sentiment. And I think
    thats a little bit reflective of how we responded today. We got up by a lot, and
    we got a little frazzled. We need to relax, calm down and understand that in
    games, there are going to be ups and downs.
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    of two goals apiece from Nikolaj Ehlers, Matt Murphy and Brent Andrews. Jonathan
    Drouin also scored and had three assists while Zachary Fucale made 17 saves for
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    . With their top three point guards and Kobe Bryant all sidelined by injury, the
    Lakers signed Marshall out of the D-League on Friday before their home game
    against Minnesota.
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    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A veteran team that sees the big picture, the Los Angeles
    Clippers were a bit subdued following their latest victory.Blake Griffin had 29
    points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Clippers built a large lead and
    then held off the Sacramento Kings 121-115 on Friday night.The Clippers (11-2)
    have won eight of nine and own the NBAs best record. They led by 26 points in
    the opening half and are unbeaten in six road games this season. But no one in
    the Los Angeles locker room felt good about letting the struggling Kings back in
    the game.A win is a win, but its kind of frustrating, Chris Paul said. We expect
    more from each other.Trailing by 19 points entering the fourth quarter, the
    Kings cut the margin to 117-115 on Matt Barnes free throw with 2:03 remaining.
    Los Angeles responded with a dunk by DeAndre Jordan before Paul made two free
    throws to push the lead back to six.Sacramento never scored again.They went
    small and it felt like they scored every time down, Clippers coach Doc Rivers
    said. It felt like we were in the North Carolina four-corner offense. Its great
    to win, but we want to be better than that.DeMarcus Cousins helped fuel the
    comeback with 38 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Kings.Barnes had
    10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, when Sacramento outscored Los Angeles
    30-17.Once again, were just waiting at the last minute to play with energy,
    Cousins said. Its all fun and exciting in the end, but these games are going to
    continue to get harder for us if we wait until the last quarter.Ty Lawson added
    18 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Kings, and Darren Collison
    scored 16. Barnes had 10 fourth-quarter points and made four of Sacramentos 10
    3-pointers to finish with 15.J.J. Redick hit six 3s and scored 22 of his 26
    points in the first half for the Clippers. Jordan had 16 points and 12 rebounds,
    Austin Rivers finished with 12 points and Paul added 11 points, 12 assists and
    nine rebounds.Redick, who connected on his first six 3-point attempts, has made
    a 3 in 69 consecutive gammes, the longest active streak in the
    NBA.ddddddddddddJ.J. got it going (in the first quarter) and we did whatever we
    could to get it back to him, Rivers said.It was the fourth straight loss for the
    Kings. They are 2-4 at home, where they face Toronto, Oklahoma City and Houston
    the next three games.Kings coach Dave Joerger experimented with a smaller lineup
    that featured Lawson and Collison in the backcourt.Im going to play small going
    forward. Ive seen enough, Joerger said. DeMarcus is going to play center. I dont
    know who else is going to play with him, but it gives us more
    zip.TIP-INSClippers: Los Angeles shot 5 of 18 in the fourth quarter, yet still
    wound up shooting 52.6 percent overall. ... Playing his first game of the
    season, Paul Pierce made his first two shots, a pair of 3-pointers in the second
    quarter. ... Paul missed his first five shots and didnt have a basket until late
    in the third.Kings: Lawson hit a 3 and converted a free throw for a four-point
    play in the first quarter. ... Taking turns guarding Griffin in the first
    quarter, Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein combined for five fouls. Griffin
    made seven of eight free throws. ... Cousins made a shot from near halfcourt to
    end the first half.HOT STARTLos Angeles enjoyed its most productive half of the
    season, shooting 70 percent and leading 73-54 at the break. The Clippers had 17
    assists and went 10 of 13 from 3-point range. They got superior play from their
    starters -- and the reserves were productive as well, contributing 23
    points.That first half was beautiful. I dont know if we can play any better than
    that, Rivers said.MAIN MANGriffin was too much for the Kings, shooting 7 of 15
    from the field and making 15 of 16 free throws. He also had two steals and a
    block in just under 37 minutes.UP NEXTClippers: Los Angeles hosts Chicago on
    Saturday night.Kings: NBA scoring leader DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors
    visit Sacramento on Sunday night. ' ' '